AILSA CHANG, HOST:
It's New Year's Day. Have you started your resolutions yet? Maybe if you're like me, you've got some diet and exercise goals after over indulging this holiday. Well, NPR's Patti Neighmond reports on the most popular workout trends for 2018.
PATTI NEIGHMOND, BYLINE: The biggest change for this coming year is a movement - back to the basics. Physiologist Walt Thompson says fewer people will be plugging in their ear buds and zoning out on fancy, new electronic equipment.
WALT THOMPSON: Commercial clubs are moving away from the shiny new bells and whistles of yesteryear into more basic kinds of exercise programs.
NEIGHMOND: Think group classes and more simple things like bodyweight exercises, lunges, pushups, planks. Thompson's is president of the American College of Sports Medicine, which every year surveys thousands of fitness instructors to see what's in and what's out when it comes to workouts.
This year, group classes got the biggest boost jumping to No. 2 in fitness trends.
THOMPSON: The gyms love it because the equipment is minimal. So it's very advantageous to gyms to have a lot of people in a single class because it helps the bottom line.
NEIGHMOND: And class members like it because it offers what individual exercise often doesn't - connection to others, motivation and supervision from a pro. Amy Dixon directs group fitness programs at Equinox fitness clubs nationwide.
AMY DIXON: They love the feeling that they get in a group. They love the fact that they can show up and have an instructor that's done their homework, that coaches them through an experience that allows them to get a workout in without them having to think about it.
NEIGHMOND: Take for example the new Cut jump rope class, which Dixon helped develop.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We're going to go in three, two, one.
NEIGHMOND: The class warms up and starts to jump using different ropes - one regular, one weighted - and alternating every few minutes between cardio drills and martial arts punching and kicking.
MADISON WILLIAMS: It's exhausting.
NEIGHMOND: After 30 minutes, the class is over, the first for 28-year-old Madison Williams (ph).
WILLIAMS: You think you're in good shape until you have to, like, keep jumping for 30 minutes straight.
NEIGHMOND: It's high-intensity interval training. And for the second year in a row, it's No. 1 on the American College of Sports Medicine's fitness list. And there's a good reason why high-intensity interval training stays on top. It works says, Dr. Robert Sallis, a sports medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center.
ROBERT SALLIS: From the heart to the muscle to the metabolic system, all are pushed to the limit. And the body's response to that being pushed is to function more efficiently...
NEIGHMOND: ...And get into shape fast. Sallis points to studies showing just five to 10 minutes of high intensity exercise can deliver the same results as 45 minutes of moderate exercise. And he says it's all relative. If you're older, a bit overweight, not terrific shape, you can still gain benefit by pushing yourself to your version of high intensity.
SALLIS: You know, you don't have to go to a super high intensity in the beginning especially - you know, just a little above what is normal - you're moderate intensity - really can add benefit.
NEIGHMOND: So for example, if you jog at a moderate pace, push it up and go as fast as you can for a block or two. If high intensity intervals and group classes are in this year, what's out? Thompson says wearable technology and smartphone exercise apps won't be as popular, neither will things like Zumba, Pilates and cardio bar. One workout that hold steady year after year, he says, is yoga.
SALLIS: The yoga instructors are continually reinventing themselves so that the program doesn't become boring. It doesn't become the same exercise program every single time you walk into the gym.
NEIGHMOND: There's hot yoga, power yoga, restorative yoga and finally, rounding out the top 10, workouts for older adults. As the nation ages, Thompson says this trend will only get more and more popular. Patti Neighmond, NPR News.
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